‘Usman’ death toll now 75 – NDRRMC

By Francis Wakefield and Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The National Disaster Risk Re­duction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that the death toll has risen to 75 as a result of tropical depression ‘Usman’, mostly caused by drowning and landslides.

FLOOD DAMAGE – Floodwaters swept away a section of road in Bulan, Sorsogon. Floods and landslides triggered by Usman have killed 75 people so far, and the death toll could still rise. (EPA-EFE) FLOOD DAMAGE – Floodwaters swept away a section of road in Bulan, Sorsogon. Floods and landslides triggered by Usman have killed 75 people so far, and the death toll could still rise. (EPA-EFE)

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Di­rector for Operations and NDRRMC Spokesman Edgar Posadas, said of the 75 reported deaths as of Tuesday morning, 59 are in the Bicol Region, 13 in Eastern Visayas, and three in MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), and else­where.

However, Posadas said the NDRRMC through the Management of the Dead and the Missing (MDM) Cluster, is still validating the reported 75 fatalities.

"Casualties are still subject for validation and verification," he said.

Posadas said at least 17 persons were also reported missing in the same regions while 12 persons from Bicol and MIMAROPA were reported injured.

Rains over most of Luzon

Meanwhile, the state weather agency warned yes­terday that flash floods and landslides are likely in Cagayan Valley, including Aurora and Quezon provinces as rains will persist over most of Luzon due to the northeast monsoon or amihan.

According to the Philippine At­mospheric, Geophysical and Astro­nomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the amihan will bring cloudy skies with light to moderate rains over Batanes, Cagayan, Isa­bela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, and Quezon.

Light rains will also be felt in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Apa­yao, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, and Mas­bate.

Metro Manila and the rest of Lu­zon will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains.

P242 M

Meanwhile, NDRRMC Executive Director and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Administrator Undersecre­tary Ricardo Jalad, said the damages to agriculture in the Bicol Region due to ‘Usman’ has been estimated at P242, 129,035.

Jalad said that affected by the tropical depression were 30,469 fami­lies from 321 barangays in CALA­BARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), MIMAROPA, Bicol and Eastern Visayas.

Of the families affected, 3,619 families are now at 112 evacuation centers and 128 families are in other shelters.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has pro­vided Family Food Packs and other relief goods.

28 roads passable

Jalad said that 92 road sections and three bridges in Regions MIMA­ROPA, 5, 6, and 8 were also reported affected by the weather disturbance. Of the number, 28 road sections are already passable.

Thirty-six domestic flights were cancelled due to the weather distur­bance yesterday.

Power interruption

Jalad also said that 67 areas in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, and Eastern Visayas had power interruption since December 29. Power in 12 cities and munici­palities in MIMAROPA have already been restored.

As part of the preparedness measures, a total of 6,479 families were pre-emptively evacuated in 146 barangays in Eastern Visayas.

The DSWD, LGUs and NGOs had provided P1, 678,995 worth of assis­tance to flood victims in MIMAROPA, Bicol and Eastern Visayas.

Search and Rescue in Bicol

Jalad said Search, Rescue and Retrieval (SRR) operations are still being conducted in Bicol, par­ticularly in Legazpi and Libon where landslides and heavy flooding were reported.

He said the SRR Team are com­posed of 98 personnel from the Phil­ippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), together with local rescuers and volunteers.

As this developed, 89 personnel from the PNP, DPWH, BFP, PAF, PN, and Coast Guard together with the Provincial Incident Management Team (IMT), are also conducting SRR operations in Tiwi, Nabua, Iriga and Buhi, as a response to reported landslides and flooding.

Aurora rivers in critical level

Meanwhile, in Baler, Aurora, the provincial disaster risk reduction and management office (PDRRMO) ordered yesterday a preemptive evacuation in at least three low-lying communities as flood waters contin­ued to rise due to an intermittent heavy downpour since Dec. 30.

Engineer Leandro Dungca, Jr., acting PDRRMO chief, said rescue trucks have already been dispatched in Sitio Virrey in Barangay Pingit, Sitio Gabgab in Barangay Buhangin and Barangay Obligacion to pre­emptively evacuate families to avoid getting into danger.

Dungca said the two major rivers of Aguang in Barangay Buhangin and Kinalapan in Barangay Pingit have already reached its critical level.

Heavy equipment from the local DPWH have started clearing op­erations along the portion of Baler - Bongabon in Barangay Diteki, San Luis due to landslide. Heavy equip­ment were already on standby status in several areas which are prone to landslides, he added.

Not passable

Quoting a report from the mu­nicipal disaster office, Dungca said that the Culat-Coso river is no longer passable making the village isolated to all forms of transportation.

Metro Manila and the rest of Lu­zon will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains.

Visayas, Mindanao weather

PAGASA said Visayas and Mind­anao will have generally fair weather today with partly cloudy to cloudy skies, especially in the morning. Some rain showers will be felt due to localized thunderstorms. The public is also warned of possible flooding or landslides during severe thunderstorms.

Due to the surge of amihan, a gale warning remains in effect as sea travel remains risky over the seaboards of Luzon and eastern coast of Visayas.

PAGASA warned fisherfolk from setting sail into these coastlines due to rough seas that will be dangerous for small sea crafts.

The rest of the country will have moderate to rough seas. (With a re­port from Ariel Avendano)